Nonprofit maritime charity United Kingdom Sailing Academy (UKSA) announced that they received the go-ahead to build a new accommodation center for students that will furnish 136 beds. Thanks to a number of generous donations, work began in February — the current site will remain fully operational while in development and is scheduled for completion in mid-2022.
Their graduates go on to work in a variety of roles across the superyacht industry, including deckhands, officers, steward/esses, skippers, and watersports instructors.
The new, modular accommodation center sits waterfront in Cowes on the Isle of Wight. With an average of 1,500 career students per year, the new facilities will allow for an additional 3,000 children and young people to visit UKSA annually. Their graduates go on to work in a variety of roles across the superyacht industry, including deckhands, officers, steward/esses, skippers, and watersports instructors.
“The new accommodation is critical for us to provide the services and training to our young people and students, as the demand for places continues to grow year on year,” CEO Ben Willows says.
Plans for this facility have been in the works since 2017, according to Willows. The cost of the new building is £3.5 million, and they’ve raised £3.7 million of their £4 million goal. Calling this one of their most significant moments for the organization since it was founded in 1987, Willows says that this milestone follows a number of other important improvements they’ve made in the prior 12 months. “Our state-of-the-art new training center has ten navigational training simulators, a training galley for superyacht crew, and a full-sized sports hall and gym,” he says.
“Our state-of-the-art new training center has ten navigational training simulators, a training galley for superyacht crew, and a full-sized sports hall and gym,” Ben Willows says.
Developed in close consultation with leading industry operators, Willows says their professional training programs were made to ensure students have in-demand qualities employers want. “Our key objective is to put the students in the best position to succeed and give them the tools and support they need to do so,” he says. “All of the recent investments and improvements on site form part of our holistic approach to student excellence. We recognize that is a very tangible link between our student’s holistic wellbeing and their fulfillment of their potential.” In other words, they’ve invested in resources to support the wellbeing of individuals by considering their emotional, physical, cultural, spiritual, and social development needs in parallel with their career learning journey.
They’ve collaborated with Edmiston to launch the Edmiston Foundation and Inclusivity Programme. “This partnership has been established to address diversity within the superyacht industry; specifically providing young people, especially those in the most underrepresented and disadvantaged groups, the opportunity to forge a career within the maritime industry,” says Willows.
Edmiston & Company provided an initial endowment of £120,000 to deliver training and education opportunities devised and run by the UKSA for more than 200 young people per year. The five-year goal is to support 1,200 young people from around the globe complete the course and find a career in the maritime sector.
This column is taken from the April 2021 issue of Dockwalk.